Virtual Motor City Updates: Titles

In our ongoing effort to improve the searching and browsing of the Virtual Motor City collection, we’ve just reloaded the collection’s metadata, updated with the latest additional information: descriptions of photographs, Library of Congress subject headings, and our brand new field, titles.

With the new title field, you’ll notice that some records contain two titles: Historical Title and Title.  You may ask, well, what’s the difference? Here’s our explanation.


There are two title fields, Historical Title and Title.  Historical Title is the name given to the photograph by the Detroit News Photographer who took the photo(s).  This field, while historically significant and interesting, is riddled with problems when it comes to searching because a lack of consistency.  The photographers did not use an authority list, so photographs that are similar, such as three pictures of cars, might be labeled totally different.  One might be simply “Autos” while another might be the model and brand, while another might be “Street Scenes.”  The NEW title field is original metadata added by a metadata librarian, that looks to give some consistency back to the titles and also add titles to records that never had one.  Once we’ve reached a significant number or records with this new field, users will have the ability to browse by title.

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